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DOJ holds first public meeting, officials say investigation into LMPD, city will 'get to the truth'

"We want to hear from you. The integrity of the investigation depends on it," one of the DOJ officials said.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Department of Justice held its first public community meeting virtually Wednesday night, where at least 500 people got to see some of the faces behind the civil probe into the city and police department.

"We want to hear from you. The integrity of the investigation depends on it," one of the DOJ officials said.

Anyone watching the public Zoom meeting was able to ask questions, as the DOJ addressed the investigation's focus and scope. Officials said anyone who participates in the investigation won't be named in the final report. Plus, the investigation won't reach back decades, instead focusing on incidents and practices within the last few years.

"If we find evidence of violations during our investigation, we're not going to wait until the end to inform LMPD and we'll give information in real-time so they can address issues," Charles Hart, a trial attorney with the DOJ's civil rights division said. 

The DOJ also informed participants more about what exactly it's looking for from the community, as it conducts the investigation over the next 12 to 18 months.

"Identify particular incidents that should be reviewed and to get your candid opinions about policing in the city," Mehveen Riaz, a trial attorney with the civil rights division of the DOJ, said.

DOJ officials said they want to hear about any experiences, cases, incidents with LMPD, and receive any documents anyone has to provide. Although, officials also clarified that they don't just want to hear the negative about LMPD or the city. They want to hear the "entire spectrum," including the positive.

"We've already been hearing from law enforcement officers that there's some things they would like us to take a closer look at," Hart said. "Our goal is to get to get insights that will help us get to the truth."

Another major question popping up was if the DOJ will investigate the police union, which officials said is outside their authority, instead focusing on the city systems. Others wanted to know if the DOJ would look at interactions police have with those facing homelessness, behavioral issues, substance abuse issues, and immigrants.

"Yes, absolutely. We're going to be looking at everyone's treatment," Paul Killebrew, special counsel with the DOJ, said. 

The DOJ officials said they won't be able to give the public regular updates about the investigation, but they said this is not the end of the opportunities to engage in the investigation. While they haven't given any other official dates for meetings, they said there will be more. 

Anyone who wants to reach the DOJ investigative team is urged to call the toll-free line at 844-920-1460 or email community.louisville@usdoj.gov. 

►Contact reporter Tyler Emery at temery@WHAS11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@TylerWHAS11) and Facebook.

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